VANCOUVER — Despite being numbers-challenged at the best of times, it’s pretty hard to keep North Vancouver’s Windsor Dukes down for long.
Behind the play of championship game MVP quarterback Alek Giragosian, the Dukes topped Parksville’s Ballenas Whalers 25-14 Saturday morning to win the Subway Bowl B.C. Junior Varsity Double-A championship at B.C. Place Stadium.,
The win comes the season after the Dukes lost in the same JV final to Chilliwack’s G.W. Graham Grizzlies, and two seasons after MVP quarterback Ryan Baker led Windsor to the 2017 B.C. senior Double A title.
“It’s a small group of boys, a little bit of a ragamuffin group that just kept coming and coming and coming,” said head coach Ian Sinclair.
“Everything we asked them to do they did,” he added. “It was a super-unselfish team and you couldn’t be more proud.”
Especially the way they overcame adversity.
With his team trailing 14-13 heading into the third quarter, Windsor running back Jacob Groves made a terrific 30-yard run, with a late jump-cut getting him down to the Ballenas one-yard line midway through the third quarter.
On the next snap, however, Ballenas’ William Dubesky ripped the ball away from Groves to snuff the scoring attempt and keep the game scoreless over the quarter.
Groves was able to change that karma in the fourth quarter, however. After making back-to-back first downs to get the offence in a groove off a catch and then a run, he followed a Giragosian keeper to the shadow of the goal line with a two-yard touchdown run with 9:20 remaining.
Windsor missed on the two-point convert but led 19-14.
“That is the resolve of this team,” added Sinclair. “The motto all year is next play and they did well, they honed into it and whatever happened, it was next play.
Giragosian’s one-yard run with 3:39 left made the 25-14 final complete.
The Dukes showed their big-play potential in the first two minutes of play when Giragosian spotted some open green and took off on a 49-yard touchdown run and a 6-0 lead.
Midway through the second quarter, however, with the Dukes driving inside the Whalers’ red zone, Ballenas defensive end Enzo Agostini tipped a Giragosian pass into the air and right into the arms of linebacker Ayden Chambers, who went 89 yards the other way for a 7-6 lead.
On the very next series, however, Giragosian hooked up on a 55-yard catch-and-run with receiver Adam Murray, putting Windsor on top 13-7.
After three big-play majors, however, the half came to an end when Chambers rushed for a six-yard score 1:29 from the break. The point-after by Ceasar Flores-Pimentel put the Parksville squad on top 14-13.
The two teams each went 5-1 over the course of their conference season, with Windsor beating Ballenas 14-6 in their only previous meeting Oct. 16 in North Vancouver.
In the semifinals, Windsor outscored G.W. Graham 50-34, while Ballenas beat South Kamloops 42-6.
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